How to live your longest (and healthiest) life
National Geographic recently released a new TV series called Limitless. It highlights longevity and preventative medicine, and brings into focus so many aspects of the naturopathic medicine that I practice day-to-day. The show claims that the “goal of a long life” is to be healthy for the majority of it, and science has proven that there are definitive ways to help make this possible. I’m drawn to Limitless for the same reason that I am drawn to Naturopathic Medicine in general – it doesn’t solely focus on the physical body, but also takes into account the mental and spiritual aspects of being a healthy human being. Here are some of my dominant findings from the series, and my best advice for living a long life:
Eliminate negative self-talk – Negative self-talk greatly increases our stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone wreaks havoc on the entire body when it is over-secreted, causing our physical body to age quickly and our energy reserves to diminish. Lessen your stress = live longer!
Incorporate two hours of endurance exercise per week – This type of exercise not only strengthens our circulatory system, but also cleans our cells of debris. This internal cleaning regenerates cells, makes them function better and with greater endurance. How cool is that?!
Hot and cold immersion – The series refers to alternating sauna and cold plunging to help the system regenerate. Studies have found that regular sauna shows 66 per cent reduction in Alzheimer’s and 50 per cent reduction in heart disease, while cold plunging releases heat shock proteins to clean up cellular debris and decrease the cellular aging process. Folks who cold plunge were also found to take 30 per cent less sick days from work.
Muscle composition – As we age, our muscle composition and mass deteriorate. The higher our muscle composition, the better our body is at repairing the mitochondria (energy enter) of our cells. In other words, the greater our muscle mass, the greater capacity our body has to produce energy.
Memory – Most people suffer from “cognitive overload” – the brain can’t keep up with all of the details and “noise” of our day-to-day lives, and this impacts our ability to process memory and general cognition. The antithesis to this overload is nature: being in nature (with no devices!) provides cognitive balance and regenerates neural pathways. It is also important to do activities without the aid of devices – navigation, pattern recognition, creating art & word and number games to keep memory strong.
I hope these tips have inspired you to dream about a healthy 90-year-old version of yourself! Naturopathic Medicine works as a fantastic way to bolster a healthy lifestyle, and increase the quality and longevity of your life.
Kate Hunter is a naturopathic doctor and owner of The Creemore Apothecary.